The U.K. government agency, Public Health England, has recommended that its citizens take vitamin D. The dietary supplement is naturally produced in the human body in conjunction with sunlight, but due to the order to stay indoors, residents have little opportunity to produce the vitamin themselves. Why should you take care of high levels of vitamin D in your body and how does it affect the fight against the virus?
British researchers at the University of Birmingham have found that vitamin D deficiency in the body can affect immunity against a dangerous virus. Tests conducted on National Health Service employees showed that people with lower levels of vitamin D were more likely to become infected with SARS-CoV-2, and the symptoms they experienced while undergoing the illness were much more severe than those with higher amounts of the vitamin.
Nearly 72% of subjects who were found to be vitamin D deficient tested positive for coronavirus. Patients who had higher levels of the vitamin only got sick 51% of the time. A similar conclusion also emerged from a study conducted by specialists from the University of Chicago Medicine. American researchers from Boston University, who also looked into the relationship between vitamin D and coronavirus, found that low levels of vitamin D promote coronavirus infection.
The tests also showed that vitamin D reduces the symptoms that accompany the disease, including fever, muscle aches and a feeling of shortness of breath. The study showed that patients with higher blood levels of vitamin D were less likely to die from complications caused by SARS-CoV-2 infection.
The effects of vitamin D in the human body are extensive. It takes part in the construction of the skeletal system, mineralizes bones, regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, improves circulation and helps in the proper work of the heart muscle. Studies conducted on vitamin D blood levels have shown that adequate levels reduce the risk of certain cancers, asthma and autoimmune diseases. The main benefits of the mineral also include regulation of the immune system, namely antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative effects.
As much as 80-100% of vitamin D in the human body is produced in the skin by synthesis with UVB radiation. This process depends on the current season and the level of sunshine. Statistics show that in Poland the synthesis of vitamin D is most effective between May and September, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. It is assumed that people with fair skin need about 15 minutes of exposure to the sun, so that the body can freely perform the synthesis. Prolonged exposure to sunny weather can lead to breakdown of the vitamin.
During quarantine and limited sun exposure, the body does not have the ability to produce vitamin D on its own, so to maintain normal levels of vitamin D in the blood, it is a good idea to use dietary supplements. Many of the products available on the market contain not only the recommended dose of vitamin D, but also many other substances that support the immune system.
As the studies conducted so far have shown, there is no close relationship between vitamin D and the control of coronavirus symptoms. The results of the tests clearly show that the mineral is not a cure for the disease, but only a supplement that helps to protect against the infection and a factor that can minimize the occurring ailments. According to statistics, 90% of Poles suffer from vitamin D deficiency, so in the autumn and winter, when the level of sunlight decreases, the incidence of flu or tonsillitis increases. Weakened organism is more susceptible to viruses and bacteria around, that’s why published statistics of SARS-CoV-2 infections are elevated, and lack of immunity may be one of the factors generating this result. The use of vitamin D supplements does not have a negative impact on the proper functioning of the body, and can only have a positive effect on the functioning of the immune system.